Автор:Otis Leah Lydia
Название: Prostitution in Medieval Society. The History of an Urban Institution in Languedoc
Издательство: The University of Chicago Press
Размер: 12 Mb
Для сайта: eKnigi.org
Otis Leah Lydia currently lectures in economic history at the University of
Montpellier I, and in southern French history and civilization for the University
of Minnesota's Montpellier Program.
Prostitution in Medieval Society, a monograph about Languedoc between the twelfth and sixteenth centuries, is also much more than that: it is a compelling narrative about the social construction of sexuality.
Leah Lydia Otis uses the implements of scholarship to reveal profound changes in prostitution, that trade in women's bodies. At first more or less tolerated, prostitution later became institutionalized. Various authorities sought to regulate, and to profit from, brothels. In so doing, such powers distinguished legal houses from illegal competition. Arguments against competition
became models for a more general assault on prostitution that characterized a third stage: active repression by an increasingly misogynistic sixteenth century. During this period the prostitute became the marginal, criminal figure that haunts the modern imagination.
Dr. Otis reminds us of the limits of her evidence. Preferring silence to heedless speculation, she judiciously refuses to say more than the leavings of history permit her to say. Her archives are too mute to give us more than shadowy outlines of the prostitutes themselves. "Property, " she writes, "in this case was far better documented than people. "
Despite this, Prostitution in Medieval Society weaves the history of women with the histories of several vast phenomena: sexuality; the growth of urban economies; the contest among municipal, state, and religious authorities for the power to define public morality and order; and the struggle within Christianity between Catholicism and an emerging Protestantism. Although this story of the prostitute can be little more than an outline, it is bold enough, in its telling here, to picture that of early modern history itself.